Sitting Bull, Ta-tanka I-yotank, Sioux chief (b somewhere in the buffalo country about 1834; d at Standing Rock, N Dak 15 Dec 1890). For a decade after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana on 25 June 1876, in which the Sioux (DAKOTA) destroyed Lt-Col Custer's force, Sitting Bull was the best-known and most-feared native warrior on the continent. For 4 of those years, he and 5000 of his people were unwanted guests in Canada, in the Wood Mountain area of southern Saskatchewan.
American and Canadian authorities were unhappy with this turn of events and the Canadian government, fearful that his presence would incite intertribal or racial warfare, refused Sitting Bull's request for a reservation. The task of surveillance was assigned to Major James Morrow WALSH of the NWMP who came to sympathize with and admire the chief. But the government stood firm in refusing reservation and food, and gradually the hungry Sioux began returning to accept American promises of rations. Among the last to surrender to the threat of starvation was the old chief who was finally settled at Standing Rock Reserve in N Dakota.